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January 7, 2017

Saint John the Forerunner and the Paralyzed Sexton

By Fr. Stephanos K. Anagnostopoulos

Once, there lived a sacristan (Gr. neokoros), who had very much reverence, much piety, and much fear of God. He was from those that we want to be keepers and helpers in church. The church he served in was built in honor of the Honorable Forerunner. The sacristan would ring the church bells — there were three or four bells — and he would ring them with his two hands. However, he had suffered some trauma to his left hand and he couldn’t ring the bells with just one hand. Because of this he was very distressed. The great feast day came and he couldn’t ring them sweetly, rhythmically, normally, but first the one, then the other.

What else could he do? He went before the icon of the Honorable Forerunner and said to him:

“Listen to me, O Saint! This is your church, you see my hand; I can’t do it with just one hand. Well, come here.”

He took him by the hand — and the Honorable Forerunner descended from his icon! — and took him outside to the bell tower.

“Now show me, how I should ring the bells!”

The Honorable Forerunner therefore made slip knots with the cords and placed one on one foot, one on the other, and one on his hand, and the other one on his elbow. And he showed him how to ring the bells in a fervent manner.

“Thank you very much!” the sacristan said to the Saint.

And he rang the bells as he was shown by the Honorable Forerunner.

From Experiences During the Divine Liturgy.